Vancouver Grizzlies Bryant Reeves (50) walks dejectedly onto the court after a time out as Grizzlies coach Sidney Lowe (left) tries to prevent his team from incurring another loss in Vancouver, Jan. 19, 2001. // Bryant Reeves’ franchise-killing contract (Chuck Stoody/CP Photo)

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Vancouver Grizzlies Bryant Reeves (50) walks dejectedly onto the court after a time out as Grizzlies coach Sidney Lowe (left) tries to prevent his team from incurring another loss in Vancouver, Jan. 19, 2001.

What we thought then: The first player drafted to the expansion Vancouver Grizzlies, Bryant "Big Country" Reeves scored an impressive sophomore year — averaging 16.2 points and 8.1 rebounds per game — for a team starting from scratch. "Country is certainly a cornerstone of our franchise and is certainly one of the best young centres in the league today," said team GM Stu Jackson after the Grizzlies, in 1997, signed Reeves to a six-year, $65 million deal.

What we know now: While Big Country would match his stats the following season, chronic back and foot injuries held the Grizzlies' big man to just 243 unimpressive games following his contract signing. The money owed to Reeves, who earned 22 per cent of the team's total salary in the contract's first year, crippled the team and was even blamed for the franchise's failure to succeed in Canada. The Grizzlies — drawing a measly 13,737 fans per home game, down from 17,183 six seasons earlier — packed up and moved to Memphis in 2001, the same year Reeves was forced into early retirement.

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